Monday, December 07, 2009

"Nuncrashers" - Lambda Players

I knew that Carolyn Gregory had recently auditioned for, and been cast in, "Nuncrackers" at Lambda Players, so I decided to surprise her today by coming to see her show. I had never seen a Lambda Players show before: a visit to Sacramento's premier LGBT theater was long-overdue!

To my surprise, though, Carolyn wasn't in the cast. Wha-wha happened? The program for "Nuncrashers" provided a clue:
Three weeks into rehearsal for our planned production of "Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical", we felt a sense of doom. Scripts arrived late from the publishing company. We couldn't secure a pianist for our show during the very busy holiday season. Half the cast left the show out of frustration. But the six actors that you will see perform tonight became more determined than ever to bring a holiday-themed show to the stage. Not only did they inspire us, they truly epitomized the meaning of the word "community". A new concept was created which resulted in an original script (written in a period of 24 hours). For the last ten days, our cast and production team have worked non-stop around the clock to make this show a reality. Never have we witnesses such hard work, dedication and risk-taking as these artists have exemplified....
Hmmm..... Interesting! Putting on musicals is a risky undertaking, because so many people and efforts have to come together, and mesh. Every show poses at least some risk, even at the most established theaters. It's almost like racing in a sports car on a winding mountain road. Every blind turn promises either a thrill, or death!

So, this show is what happens after the sports car breaks through the guardrail, plunges down the embankment, and tumbles end over end! You pick up what remains and continue forward!

I did recognize local community musical theater veteran Bethany Hidden-Cauley in the cast, however. She has lots of energy and talent, and I knew she wouldn't disappoint.

"Nuncrashers" is a strange, campy Christmas show that starts just outside a high school dance, where Rita (Roya Bryant) and Sally Anne (Bethany Hidden-Cauley) cannot puzzle out why their dates seem to prefer hanging out together rather than with them. Rita hypothesizes that ethnicity differences explain her date's lack of interest: "because he's Mexican". Needless to say, given the circumstances, being Mexican has nothing to do with it!

The girls' dates are expelled from their school after an unfortunate grease fire in their Home Economics class (while making tacos) and enroll instead a Catholic Boy's School. Seeking to puzzle out the lack-of-chemistry mystery, their dates follow them, dressed as nuns to escape detection.

Many hijinks ensue.

I have no idea how much of "Nuncrackers" is in "Nuncrashers", but my guess is: not much.

The music is an odd melange of Christmas tunes with 60's-through-80's karaoke pop tunes. Occasionally, the show creaks forward due to slow pre-recorded song introductions. Nevertheless, the 1.5 hour long show is all quite entertaining and enjoyable, provided camp is your thing.

Three cast members stand out for their energetic performances: Roya Bryant as Rita, the aforementioned Bethany Hidden-Cauley as Sally Anne, and Joseph Ramos as Johnny.

Support Lambda Players' grit this holiday season!

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